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Burchill Wind Project

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Welcome to the official Burchill Wind Project webpage! This webpage has been created to provide information about the Project to the community, stakeholders, and the First Nations in New Brunswick.

About The Project

The Burchill Wind Project is a wind energy project consisting of 10 wind turbines capable of producing up to 42 MW of renewable energy coupled with a 5.781 MW/11.562 MWh utility-scale battery energy storage system (BESS). The Project is located approximately 15 km southwest of Saint John, NB within the city limits near Lorneville, NB and the existing Coleson Cove Generating Station. The Project is owned by the Burchill Wind Limited Partnership, a partnership between Neqotkuk Maliseet Nation and Natural Forces Development. We are delighted to be working with Saint John Energy as both our interconnection partner and the buyer of the energy produced by the Project.

Neqotkuk Maliseet Nation (Malisset Nation at Tobique) partnered with Natural Forces to form the Burchill Wind Limited Partnership (LP), with Tobique First Nation being the majority owner of the Project, and Natural Forces the minority owner. This partnership was formed to develop, own, and operate this Project.

The project is located on the unceded and traditional lands of the Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) and the Passamaquoddy people. Natural Forces acknowledges that working on these lands is a privilege that comes with a great deal of responsibility. We believe that private companies have an important role to play in the decolonization of the energy sector and, ultimately, the path towards reconciliation through partnerships and meaningful engagement. To honour and achieve this, we must look forward for generations and integrate the practices and knowledge of the original land stewards into project planning.

On May 10th, 2021, Natural Forces received approval on the environmental assessment for the Project. Construction on the Project began on November 22, 2021 and the turbines were commissioned in June 2023.

Pisunawtik Road

The Burchill Wind Project is in the recognized traditional and unceded territory of the Wolastoqey, and for this reason we have undertaken the gold standard in Duty to Consult process with an Indigenous Knowledge Study (IKS).  The IKS has made several recommendations limiting environmental impacts, improving protection of archaeological and cultural resources, and naming the newly constructed road in the Wolastoqey language to reflect the longstanding and ongoing relationship with the land.

The name for the newly constructed road on the Project site was selected to reflect the traditional uses of the land. The name – Pisunawtik Road (Medicine Road) – signifies all the traditional and natural medicines that were so bountiful on the lands generations ago. This name honours the ancestral rights of the Wolastoqey to healing past, present, and future.

Project Updates

Construction on the wind project began in early November, 2021. Since then, construction activities have included:

  • Tree clearing
  • Road work (creating new roads and widening existing roads)
  • Transport and arrival of turbine parts

Ongoing activities include:

  • Transportation of turbine components to site
  • Electrical and mechanical works
  • Turbine erection

Natural Forces is very happy to be working with a number of local contractors who are completing significant scopes of work:

  • Debly Forest Services, who are completing our forestry work;
  • Gulf Operators, who are completing the civil works; and
  • Kline, who will be completing the elctrical work. 

As construction continues, many more smaller local contractors will be engaged. In addition to these New Brunswick contractors, we are also engaging with other contractors from outside the province to complete very specialized work, including:

  • Northeast TCL for the foundation work;
  • Pennecon Heavy Civils for the turbine installation; and
  • Enercon, who are manufacturing, supplying, and commissioning the turbines. 

Project Timeline

  • Spring to Fall 2019 – Environmental studies were being completed on site. 
  • ​September 4 2019 – Natural Forces was announced as the successful proponent of the Burchill Wind Project
  • September 24 2019 – Natural Forces hosted the first open house for the Project at the Lorneville Community Centre
  • December 20 2019 – Natural Forces submitted a rezoning application to the City of Saint John
  • January 2020 – Natural Forces and Fundy Engineering worked together to compile the results of the environmental studies into the Environmental Impact Assessment
  • February 2020 – The Environmental Impact Assessment was submitted to the Department of Environment and Local Government. See the Environmental Assessment section below to read the report. The bird and bat survey reports are now available
  • February – May 2020 – Natural Forces addressed comments on the Environmental Assessment and gathered additional data for review by the New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government
  • March 10 2020 – Natural Forces hosted a second open house at the Lorneville Community Centre
  • September 3 2020 – Natural Forces hosted a third open house at the Lorneville Community Centre
  • October 13 2020 – ​The rezoning application for the Project was passed by City of Saint John Common Council
  • May 4 2021 – The New Brunswick Minister of Environment and Local Government issued a Certificate of Determination, granting the environmental permit approvals for the Project
  • October 2021 – Saint John Energy has begun construction on their substation. For more information, visit Saint John Energy’s webpage on the Burchill Wind Project here
  • November 2021 – Construction started on site with tree clearing
  • December 2021 – Start of road work on site
  • April 2022 – Start of foundation work
  • May 2022 – Start of electrical works
  • May 17 2022 – Natural Forces announced the partnership with Tobique First Nation, who will be the majority owner of the Project

Who is proposing this project?

Neqotkuk Maliseet Nation, or Tobique First Nation

Tobique First Nation is located on the north side of the Tobique River and is the largest Maliseet community. Tobique is located north of Perth-Andover where the Tobique and Saint John Rivers meet. Tobique First Nation is led by Chief Ross Perley and twelve council members. The Project partnership is managed by a dedicated Economic Development committee comprised of some Council members, Band executives, and Band members. Chief Ross has given the committee a mandate to establish additional business enterprises for the band. Chief Ross Perley’s goal for the community is to be a leader in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The leadership of Tobique First Nation recognizes the historic wrongs perpetrated by both the Federal and Provincial governments on its territory which extends from the western parts of Maine, into the province of Quebec, and to the shores of the Bay of Fundy. The lifeline of the Maliseet Nation is the waters that flow down the Saint John River, the tributaries that feed it, and the lands adjacent. The lands and waterways have never been ceded by the Maliseet Nation. Tobique First Nation knows that generating energy is a necessity and that projects like the Burchill Wind Project bring value through renewable energy, minimal environmental damage, proper regulation, First Nation ownership, and economic viability. The Project holds true to all of these principles; it is a keystone in the direction of self-sufficiency that Tobique has mapped out for itself.

Natural Forces

Natural Forces is a regional energy developer headquartered in Halifax, NS that has successfully developed, constructed, and operated multiple wind projects in Atlantic Canada for over a decade. Natural Forces has been working in New Brunswick for over 15 years, beginning with the development of the first wind farm in the province – Kent Hills in partnership with TransAlta Corp. Natural Forces operates two additional wind project in New Brunswick – the Richibucto Wind Project owned in partnership with Pabineau First Nation and the Wocawson Energy Project owned in partnership with Tobique First Nation.

The senior management team at Natural Forces has over 70 years of combined renewable energy experience encompassing all project life cycle activities in a range of international locations including Canada, Ireland, Poland, the UK, and Australia. Natural Forces is an integrated developer and operator of renewable energy assets. The in-house team undertakes all activities from initial site selection, development, financing, construction, operations, and asset management. Our vision is to develop, construct, operate, and own clean renewable energy projects across Canada in partnership with local and Indigenous communities.

Why here?

When developing a wind project, it is crucial to find the best suitable location and community to host it. To do so, there are four main factors to consider during the site finding phase of development: ​

Wind resource
​​​To measure the wind resource, a temporary meteorological mast or ‘met mast’ is being installed on the project site. The met mast is equipped to measure the wind speed, wind direction, temperature, and relative humidity.

Distance to existing electrical and civil infrastructure
​​The project is located along the existing Burchill Road, which will largely be used to access the site. This project will connect to existing Saint John Energy electrical infrastructure.

Environmental sensitivity
Field studies were conducted throughout 2019-2020. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Project was submitted on February 18, 2020. On April 30, 2021, the EIA was approved with conditions. The EIA and associated documents are detailed in the EIA section below.

Socio-economic concerns
​The proposed project is located on Crown land that has significant industrial disturbances including a waterline, a pipeline, three communication towers, several gravel pits, several transmission lines, the Coleson Cove Generating Facility, and a capped landfill. These disturbances combine to cause there to be industrial sounds throughout the project site. The site will allow all turbine locations to be more than a kilometre away from any residential buildings. ​​

Stakeholder Engagement

The development of wind energy in New Brunswick not only provides a clean and stable source of electricity to help meet growing energy demands and provincial targets, but also provides additional community benefits such as:

  • An increase in demand for local goods and services during the feasibility and construction phases of development.
  • The creation of jobs in the Lorneville area during the construction phase.

Newsletters

Natural Forces has engaged with, and continues to engage with, stakeholders through a number of avenues, including newsletters. Each of the newsletters circulated to date are linked below:​

Open Houses

Since the beginning of the Project’s development, Natural Forces has held three open houses to provide opportunities for the community to engage with Natural Forces staff in-person. Each of these open houses displayed the most up-to-date information on the Project, the materials for which can be found below:

What is the process?

1

Development

  • Assess the wind resource
  • Optimize turbine location to capture the wind efficiently and minimize impact on sensitive features
  • Begin consultation with regulators and the public
  • Conduct and present the Environmental Impact Assessment for environmental approval
  • Apply for road, work and construction permits​

2

Construction

  • Clear trees for roads and turbine pads​
  • Build access roads and pad areas
  • Pour the turbine foundation
  • Assemble the wind turbine
  • Connect to the electrical grid

3

Operation

(Current Stage)

  • Commission the wind turbines to start producing power
  • Conduct post-construction wildlife monitoring
  • Monitor remotely for real time alerts when additional maintenance is needed
  • Operate for 30 years​

4

Decommission or Retrofit

  • Assess wind turbine after 30 years
  • Decommission wind turbines in 3-6 months
  • Reclaim the site to its former state OR
  • Receive approvals and permits to retrofit the turbine to continue harnessing energy​

Environmental Impact Assessment

The Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation – Clean Environment Act states that any electrical power generating facilities, such as a wind project, with a production rating of 3 megawatts or more must undergo an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). As the Burchill Wind Project will produce approximately 45 MW of electricity, it is subject to an EIA.
To fully assess the potential environmental impacts of the project, the following comprehensive studies have been conducted:

  • Wind Resource Assessment
  • Wetlands and Watercourses Surveys
  • Bird and Bat Surveys
  • Vegetation and Habitat Surveys
  • Noise and Visual Assessments
  • Electromagnetic Interference Assessments
  • Archaeological Assessments

Results from these studies are compiled in the EIA document were registered with the Department of Environment and Local Government in February 2020. The bird and bats surveys are being included as an addendum to the assessment and are available below. A summary of the environmental studies is also available below.

For more information on the process, please visit the webpage of the Department of Environment and Local Government which can be found by selecting this link: New Brunswick Environmental Impact Assessment

Frequently Asked Questions

Our realistic and worst-case noise impact assessments demonstrate that the surrounding residences are not expected to experience noise levels at or above the regulated limits (~40 dB(A)) at any wind speeds. This does not mean that no sound will be experienced at residences, but that the maximum sound levels that could be experienced will be quieter than an average refrigerator compressor. Natural Forces is committed to working with the community should any issues arise throughout all phases of the Burchill Wind Project.

For the Burchill Wind Project, we are using Enercon turbines which are manufactured in Germany and Portugal and to a nearby port.

Enercon used to be able to provide specific turbine components such as the towers from their facilities in Quebec, however, their facilities were sold in 2020 and are no longer able to produce the components necessary for the project.

Shadow flicker is created when the sun is at a certain angle behind the turbine. When the sun shines through the blades, the movement of the blades can cause a shadow that flickers on and off as the blades rotate. The Province of New Brunswick has identified specific guidelines for wind turbines that require wind energy projects not to exceed 30 minutes/day or 30 hours/year of shadow flicker at any residence. These guidelines also require that wind energy projects not exceed 40 dB[A] of sound at any residence.
Our realistic and worst-case shadow flicker impact assessments demonstrate that the surrounding residences are not expected to experience shadow flicker levels at or above the regulated limits. In addition, the assessments demonstrate that the majority of residences will not be impacted by shadow flicker at any level. ​

The proposed turbines will be set back at least 1.0 km from all cabins and houses.

The turbines being considered for this project have a maximum height of 205 m to blade tip. Wind turbines have gotten taller over the past few years, allowing them to produce more power and reduces the number of wind turbines needed to meet energy demands. Though these larger turbines are more efficient and reduce the ground disturbance by reducing the amount of turbines needed, they are taller and can be seen from further areas surrounding the project. Photomontages (see above) of local areas have been created to provide a general idea of what the landscape will look like once the Project is built.

The project is proposed on Crown Land owned by the Province of New Brunswick. While the project is in operation, the land will still be owned by the province.
​No land will be expropriated from landowners. Since the site for the Burchill Energy Project is located on Crown land, there will be no need to lease lands from private landowners.

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and considering the emissions produced within the New Brunswick Power energy sector, the Burchill Energy Project is expected to offset the carbon emitted during its life cycle within the first year or two of operations. This will allow at least 28 years of operation to offset additional emissions produced in the New Brunswick electricity sector from fossil fuel emitting sources.

​At wind speeds above 30 m/s (108 km/h) the turbine blades feather so they do not catch the wind and the hub rotates the blades so they are parallel to the wind direction. This causes the turbine blades to reduce their speed drastically to ensure no damage is done to the turbines.

Yes. There will be many construction jobs created by the Burchill Energy project. These positions will be held by local-subcontractors hired by Natural Forces, which will act as the General Contractor during the construction phase of the project. ​

Tree clearing for the turbines, roads, and collection system is often the main source of environmental impact. With the new advances in wind turbine technology, we are able to use fewer turbines while still meeting energy demands. By using fewer turbines, we are able to reduce the project’s overall footprint. Additionally, we will be using as many existing roads onsite as possible to minimize the clearing footprint.
Another common concern is avian collision with the moving blades and barotrauma for bats. In Atlantic Canada, wind projects have seen the lowest avian and bat mortality compared to the rest of Canada. In this region, data shows that less than one bird per turbine per year is impacted.

The proposed Project resides on Crown land and Natural Forces will not gate the premises or restrict access. Once constructed, the wind turbines are secure and self-contained. Residents will still be able to use the land as they have in the past. Appropriate Project and safety signs will be posted throughout the site.

​​A study done by Health Canada in 2014 investigated the health effects of wind turbine noise. This study found that wind turbine noise was not associated with self-reported sleep, illness or stress levels. For more information on this topic, please visit the Health Canada Environmental and Workplace Health page. 

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This project is located in Mi’kmaki, the ancestral territory of the Mi’kmaq. Natural Forces acknowledges that working on these lands is a privilege that comes with a great deal of responsibility. We believe that private companies have an important role to play in the decolonization of the energy sector and, ultimately, the path towards reconciliation through partnerships and meaningful engagement. To honour and achieve this, we must look forward for generations and integrate the practices and knowledge of the original land stewards, the Mi’kmaq, into project planning.
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